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When I was younger

I remember a time when I was younger, and the world was a different place. The road where we lived was a dirt road that was occasionally covered in oil to keep the dust down. On either side of the road were ditches deep enough to come up to my waist. In the spring, those ditches would be filled by the winter runoff and April showers. As kids, we would hunt for tadpoles and crayfish during the summer months it was caterpillars and fireflies. There were about fifteen houses on our street, two, sometimes three, together separated by large fields that were used for corn or soybeans, and in other years lay fallow. Those were the years they served as our baseball diamonds in the summer and hockey rinks in the winter. Behind our house were rows upon rows of grapevines, both black, red, and white. Across the road, behind our neighbors' houses, were rows of orchard trees, including a variety of apples, pears, cherries, and peaches. It was great to be young.

I remember a time when I was younger, walking with my sister and the other kids on our street to school in all kinds of weather. We had to cross several major streets to get to where the school was, so in those days, the kids in the senior classes were our crossing guards. The advantage for them was that they were allowed to come to school after the bell rang and leave fifteen minutes before the end of the school day. Beside the school was a large park. Many times we would fill the park not just at recess, but also on weekends. Some would play red rover, and others would play soccer or football. Still, others would play on the swings or the seesaws, the monkey bars, or the slides. It was great to be young.

I remember when I was younger that every kid had several prized possessions. For most of the girls, it was a skipping rope, a special doll, roller skates, or colored chalk. For most of the boys, it was a ball, glove, and bat, a football or soccer ball, and ice skates. But for everyone, two things were essential. One was a bike; with a bike, the world was wide open to us. You could travel great distances that would take forever to walk. There were races to be won and daredevil challenges to be tried. The other, surprisingly, was a steel garbage can lid. In the winter, it served as a toboggan, goal posts when playing hockey, or a shield during snowball fights. In the summer, they served as frisbees, bases, and home plate in baseball games. Goal posts for football and soccer, and as shields during sword fights. It was great to be young.

But now, I am old, and the world has greatly changed. The road that I lived on has been paved, with sewers lining the street. Gone are the fields where corn and soybeans grew. Gone are the rows of grapes and rows of orchard trees. Gone are the tadpoles and crayfish, the caterpillars and fireflies. Everything has been replaced by rows of houses. The school we went to is no longer there, and the park is barely a fourth of its size. The playground has been sanitized to the point that only two swings remain. Everything has been replaced by rows of houses. Probably the saddest thing is that I did not see any kids out playing—none playing baseball or football, none out riding bikes or challenging each other, none out looking for tadpoles or crayfish or stealing the occasional grapes or apples. It is kind of sad for them to be young.

_____Mystikos Samaritan_______

© Copyright 2023 Kenneth G Brennan